Viral papillomas are found around the lips and mouths of young animals, particularly in cattle from 1 mo to 2 yr old. In some herds, the rate of occurrence may be 100%. The lesions are characteristically white to pink, raised, and appear proliferative. Most papillomas resolve spontaneously. However, in some cases, the lesions may coalesce to form cosmetically unacceptable masses, and owners may request therapy.
Surgical removal of larger masses can be cosmetically acceptable and lessen recovery time. Small masses can also be manually debrided or crushed to stimulate the immune system. Other therapies including cryosurgery and the use of autologous vaccines may also be effective. Most papillomas eventually disappear if given time.
Last full review/revision April 2012 by Jan F. Hawkins, DVM, DACVS